Local dancers and instructor earn high honors at national competition

The Foothills Dance Arts Senior Company is pictured during its modern dance “Letter to the Playground Bully.”

The Foothills Dance Arts Senior Company is pictured during its modern dance “Letter to the Playground Bully.”

EASLEY — Students from Foothills Dance Arts recently competed at the Boogie Fever Nationals in Rock Hill.

The students are members of the competition team at Foothills Dance Arts and qualified for nationals based on their scores at the regional event.

Several dancers competed in the solo division, receiving excellent awards. Addison Short, Karis Bass and Abbey Wilson all earned an Amethyst award for their solos. Keely Austin was awarded an Emerald and fifth overall for her jazz solo in the mini division. Jayda Austin earned an Emerald and fourth overall for her lyrical solo in the junior division. Renai Pesho competed in the Senior division, where she earned an Emerald for her Open solo and a Ruby for her jazz solo. Lillian Goodman was awarded a Diamond (the highest possible award) for her solo, as well as a Judges award and the overall high score for the petite division. Keely Austin and Goodman earned an Emerald for their duet and were also the National Champions in the mini duet division.

Groups also competed during the event. The Senior Company competed in jazz with “Sweet Dreams,” receiving a Sapphire and placing fifth overall. The dancers also competed with their modern piece, “Letter to the Playground Bully,” earning an Emerald and third place overall.

Foothills Dance Arts artistic director Suzanne Goodman was awarded the National Choreography Award for “Letter to the Playground Bully.” Goodman shares the choreography award with her daughter, Madeline Goodman, who assisted with the piece.

Another phase of the weekend’s competition was the solo title competition. Dancers were selected at regionals and competed in interviews, audition classes, stage presence, and solo performance. Keely Austin won a class award in the mini division. Jayda Austin was awarded a stage presence award in the junior division. Bass represented Foothills in the teen division. Pesho earned an interview award and class award in the Miss division. Lillian Goodman received an interview award, stage presence award, overall solo award and first runner-up in the Petite division.

By the end of the competition, two more awards were given to Foothills Dance Arts. Lillian Goodman was awarded Super Grand National Champion in 12 and under, having the highest score out of all 12 and under entries. Suzanne Goodman was chosen as the 2015 Teacher of the Year for Boogie Fever.

“This teacher treats each student equal,” Boogie Fever director Robbie Anderson said while presenting the award. “She has a wide range of talent and she finds what each one has special and makes sure they shine on stage.”

“I am so honored and humbled,” Goodman said. “It was a complete surprise. I try to do my best to ensure each student feels special and that each one has a love for the art of dance.”

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